January 6, 2021
I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit… John 15:16 NLT
You’ve likely heard someone described as a “trophy wife.” What does that mean? It means that the relationship is based on inferior reasons. The mutual love, respect, desire to please, and deep commitment is missing. The relationship is superficial. Both the husband and the wife have personal gain at the heart of their decision: status, money, impressing others, sexual satisfaction, or some other trade-off in mind.
Strangely enough, individuals who would never have that kind of perspective in their human relationships treat their relationship with Jesus this way. Being identified as a “Christian,” having knowledge of Jesus, being known and respected in church circles, feeling forgiveness and a security about death and the afterlife are incredible perks of a relationship with Jesus. Jesus is their “trophy” relationship. Often we are even pleased enough with ourselves that if we would be truly transparent, we would have to admit that we think Jesus got a good deal when we chose to follow Him. We make Him look good.
Doesn’t that sound crazy when you see it in print?
Jesus refuses that kind of superficial relationship. He has a goal in our relationship that is totally unselfish. Jesus came into this world with unconditional love, giving unmerited mercy and grace. His commitment to us is complete. But He has chosen us for a relationship where we love like He does. This verse comes at the end of His great teaching on the vine and the branches. He urged His disciples to remain in Him because that is the way we are designed to bear fruit. The goal of our relationship with Him is far bigger than just going to heaven. It is to have a vital life with Him that bears fruit personally, in us and through us to other people. A disciple is not a trophy, just sitting and getting better and better. A disciple has been called to bear fruit by bringing others to Christ, and to be so real and devoted that the work will last.
When a husband and wife love each other as God intended, their visions and values mesh. They don’t spend their days as polished trophies, but as partners working together for their mutual mission. That’s how it is with Jesus and His real disciples. It’s about the fruit—fulfilling the reason Jesus came.
- Jesus, I know that the word “disciple” means one who follows. Following is active, moving toward a purpose. I commit myself to follow You and do my part to bear fruit in the world You love just as You love me. Amen.